Global Classmates Summit 2018

Global Classmates Summit 2018

Virtual Exchange Meets Real World: 

Relationships that students from the United States and Japan cultivated online blossom as they meet one another in person to discover, dialogue, and collaborate.


Global Classmates Summit selects a handful of outstanding high school students who participated in Kizuna Across Culture’s virtual exchange program and brings them together in Washington, DC for in-person dialogue and collaboration.


The Summit aims to foster bonds between prominent young students from the United States and Japan and empower them to grow as leaders to build a positive future for U.S.-Japan relations and the broader international community.


Since its launch in 2012 our virtual language and cultural exchange program, Global Classmateshas connected 8,300 high school students in the United States and Japan, making a powerful impact on the students and their future. The vast Global Classmates community allows Kizuna Across Cultures to identify the best candidates for prestigious opportunities the Summit provides.

Global Classmates Summit 2018

Global Classmates Summit 2018 took place in Washington, DC from July 26th to August 4th.


Twelve high school students (six from the US and six from Japan) were selected from a pool of 1,700 participants from KAC’s virtual exchange, Global Classmates, the previous year.


During the Summit, students stayed together at a local university dorm and engaged in various activities such as:


・Explored Washington, DC through scavenger hunt

・Visited exhibit on Japanese American history at the National Museum of American History

・Had in-depth discussions on various topics including cultural differences and similarities, history, and societal issues

・Met with phenomenal leaders and experts at the State Department, the S&R Foundation, Sasakawa USA, CULCON, and US-Japan Congressional Caucus to learn about leadership, collaboration, and ties between the United States and Japan at various levels

・Heard personal journeys of internationally minded young professionals in various fields through a career panel

・Toured Georgetown University campus

・Worked collaboratively to make group presentation to conclude program


・On August 2nd at the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, the participants made a presentation in front of invited guests to share their Summit learning and ideas to enhance U.S.-Japan public diplomacy as young leaders.


* Prior to arriving in Washington DC, students from Japan gathered in Tokyo to participate in pre-departure activities.


Global Classmates Summit 2018

Summit 2018 Participants and Their Voices


United States


     Grey Berndt

     South County High School



                  Mark Albrecht

                  Clarkstown High School

               (New York)           


            Samantha Chan

            Mills High School




      Shun Wetlesen    

     International School of

     Beaverton (Oregon)


                    Tatiana Ahmad

                    Langley High School



                       Zahra Ganem

                       Mills High School



・I cannot fully explain what this Summit has done to me. It’s made me a better listener, better at asking questions, and a better leader as well. The Summit went above and beyond anything I could’ve ever asked for.


・I have made friends that I know I’ll have for a lifetime. Most of all, I’ve been inspired by how smart, caring, funny, and absolutely amazing everyone here is, and I can’t wait to see them again.


・I now understand that any field can be applied to the international community. I used to think that being an engineer meant that I would not really have the same kind of impact, but after speaking with people of all professions about how they help bridge foreign countries and cultures, I know that I can too.


・This summit far surpassed my expectations. The summit has not only taught me about others, as in varying cultures and perspectives, but also about myself. I’ve found personal growth not only in my perception of the world but also myself and my culture. I also did not walk into this room with the expectation of becoming such close friends with everyone. They’re not only my close friends, but even as far as family.





         Ayana Nishizuka   

         Himeji Shikisai High School     



          Ginta Iida    

          National Institute of Technology,

         Hakodate College (Hokkaido)


              Honoka Sakaguchi

         Fukuoka Futaba High School




           Kento Habe

           Toho High School (Tokyo)


                Momoka Miura

                Fukushima Minami High School



                Tetsuya Yoshimura

                Kindai University High School (Osaka)


・I had the opportunity to meet with people I wouldn’t have been able to in Japan and learned to view things from a variety of perspectives. I learned the importance of connections between people and I will continue to value these connections in the future.


・I was able to gain clarity and further develop my set of values. I also connected with a strong network of people and developed a strong bond with the twelve participants.


・Through valuable experiences that I could never have had in Japan (such as interviewing those involved in US-Japan relations and participating in various discussions), I was able to broaden my views and ways of thinking about careers.

Summit 2018 Media Coverage

Dec 17, 2018 Japan’s pacifism and America’s gun culture: Views from a Global Classmates Summit participant, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
Oct 26, 2018 Global Classmates Summit ProgramSan Mateo Daily Journal
Aug 23, 2018 Washington D.C. に行って米国の高校生と交流してきました。(translation: I went to Washington, DC and participated in an exchange with American high school students), National Institute of Technology, Hakodate College
Aug 10, 2018 Global Classmates Summit 2018, Facebook post by Embassy of Japan in the USA
Aug 7, 2018 Global Classmates Summit 2018, Instagram post by Happi Enterprises, LLC (@happienterprises)
Aug 2, 2018 Global Classmates Summit 2018Tweet by Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State (@USAsiaPacific)

Summit 2018 Sponsors

US  US Embassy             Japan Foundation





Summit 2017 Stories

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